10 dead, 130+ injured after Kenya building collapse

Seven people have been confirmed dead and at least 121 others were injured in the collapse of a residential building in Nairobi during heavy rains, Kenyan officials said on Saturday.

Kenyan emergency personnel look for survivors under the rubble Picture: AFP PHOTO / JOHN MUCHUCHA

The Kenya Red Cross said a search team managed to pull three children and an adult from the remains of the six-story building in the Huruma area.

The Red Cross said 150 building units and adjacent homes were affected.

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Live TV footage showed the National Youth Service and firefighters removing stones by hand and a crowd cheering when a child was removed from the rubble.

Torrential rainstorms in the Kenyan capital have left at least 14 people dead Picture: AFP PHOTO / JOHN MUCHACHA

Hours-long traffic jams caused by flooded roads delayed rescue teams trying to reach the scene, said Japheth Koome, Nairobi’s police chief, who confirmed the death toll. Kenya is in the midst of its April-May rainy season.

Jacob Kiruma, who said he lived in the house adjacent to the one that collapsed, said the building was constructed “shoddily”.

The structure had been built in less than five months and 126 single rooms which were quickly occupied at a rent of 35 US dollars a month, Mr Kiruma said.

Area legislator Stephen Kariuki said this was the second building to collapse in a year. He blamed the county government of failing to follow through with demolitions of buildings that were identified as unfit for humans.

Torrential rainstorms in the Kenyan capital have left at least 14 people dead Picture: AFP PHOTO / JOHN MUCHACHA

Because of a high demand for housing in Nairobi, some property developers bypass building regulations to cut costs and maximize profits. The Architectural Society of Kenya has estimated that 50% of structures in Nairobi are not up to code.

President Uhuru Kenyatta last year ordered an audit of all the buildings in the country to see if they are up to code after eight buildings collapsed, killing at least 15 people.

The report from the audit by the National Construction Authority found that 58% of buildings in the capital were unfit to live in.

The majority of Nairobi’s population live in low-income areas or slums.